Oh my goodness my boy Bailey is 17!!!! I can't believe he is the same age I was when I had him-this means I've been a parent for half of my life...Its without a doubt the best half of my life. I wouldn't change it for the world, and I got to celebrate my eldest child turning 17 in the most beautiful city of Paris-how wonderful!
After having some very tired children with very tired legs we decided to brave the Paris Metro today. Bailey had chosen to visit the Paris Catacombs so we headed onto the metro from Chatalet to Denfert Rochereau, it was all very straight forward and we were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves until we got outside the station and saw the queue for the catacombs that is! I was all for getting lunch-it was 12 by this time-and waiting in the queue but birthday boy decided he did not want to wait...So after navigating the metro ticket machines we managed to work out the stop at Montemarte so we could go and see the Sacre-Coeur. Coming out of the station at Chateau Rouge was a bit overwhelming and chaotic to be honest, the area was so different to the very touristy parts of Paris we had visited so far. But we navigated our way through the busy streets and found a very nice Patisserie and I managed to order six fresh cream cakes and two baguettes in French-thankfully I can apologise in French pretty well too!
We then headed off up the very steep hill and steps to the church.
We stopped just below the church to eat our cakes, here is the birthday boy with his chosen millefeuille...they were delicious by the way!
Cordelia also went for the millefeuille, Piper chose a chocolate éclair and Ruben a chocolate brioche. We were all a bit transfixed with both the view and the sellers of fake bags and mini Eiffel towers..
The beautiful Sacre-Coeur (its called the self-cleaning church because of the limestone its made of, when it rains it produces a chemical reaction which bleaches the outside of the church!)
No photos inside unfortunately but it was very beautiful, I'd like to say it was very quiet too as you were supposed to be there in silence but then there are these huge coin machines, the kind that you have in lots of museums now where you can buy a memorable coin? Was a bit like Vegas with several noisy machines in an otherwise very quiet place. A little bit surreal....
There was a funny moment when we got to the bottom of the church stairs and a police patrol car drove past, all the street sellers (that were pretty rife around all of Paris selling fake bags and mini Eiffel towers) grabbed their sheets (which had all their stock on) and bombed down the stairs. The noise of 100's of mini Eiffel towers clattering together and the large crowd moving out of the way to let them pass was quite a scene....
The view is pretty amazing from this high up, in the distance on this photo you can see Gare Du Nord-a big train station, the business area around Paris, we could even see the huge square of La Defense which we saw from the Arch Du Triumph, Notre Dame but no Eiffel Tower in the distance as it was too far to the right!
The back of the church, there was even a French lady singing-reminded me of Edith Piaf!! Amazing ambience...
The fantastic area of Montemarte, lots of narrow streets, lovely little gift shops and cafes-full of tourists. It just started to rain but thankfully it was only very light...
Connections everywhere, this time in the form of Van Gogh's painting of the church which was featured in a Dr Who episode (which we had just happened to watch recently!) Van Gogh lived here for a while so there was a pretty big display on this wall of his work and some information about him.
Ruben asked what would happen if there was an earthquake here outside this beautiful ceramic shop...told him it was highly unlikely!
Saw this in the guidebook and it looked so pretty...
I'm sure this house had a connection to Napoleon but I can't remember where I read that now so I may have gotten my wires crossed...it was still a lovely house....
We found a little playground that was also advertising free wifi and toilets so we had a little break and a sit down. Sadly the toilets were closed and there didn't seem to be any wifi available. Still Rube was happy to have a little play and found it rather funny that his legs were nearly as long as the climbing wall itself!
The Moulin de la Galette which was built in 1604 and inspired the 1866 Renoir painting! I love windmills so was really excited to see this, it was quite tucked away behind houses/trees.
The famous Moulin Rouge, I would have so loved to go inside and see a show here and Hubby has promised we shall come back and do just that when it is the two of us! I am a huge fan of the 2001 film and if Ruben had been born a girl the name at the top of our list was Satine...It was so funny as we were just taking a photo, a guy came out and started re painting the windmill, over the graffiti!
We found a Starbucks over the road and spent some time sat in there having a coffee, using the toilets and working out where to go to next. Cordelia started with a sore throat and everyone was so tired from so much walking so we headed to the nearest metro station and headed to the area near the Bastille to try and get something to eat.
So many stunning buildings, this one which I think was the national archives was hidden behind two massive wooden gates:
The Bastille used to be a notorious prison but is no longer there. There is a very modern opera house:
And the grand Colonne de Juillet or the July Column which was erected in the 19th century to honour victims of both revolutions. The golden statue on the top represents "liberty"
We managed to find some food for Ruben-a pizza slice nearly as big as his face!! Its funny that in France they don't have the same kind of street food/junk food type of shop. Its very much cafes and bistros, which I think if there is just the two of you must be lovely but not when there is 6 of you to feed, it can get rather expensive. They do have McDonalds but we had already had one on our first day here so no one was keen to eat it again so soon. We managed to get the girls some pain au chocolat from a little supermarket.
And then we finally found what we were heading here for! The Baby The Stars Shine Bright Lolita shop. This is the nearest shop to us that sells brand Lolita clothing so it was #1 on top of Ppippi's list to see. The clothes inside are really gorgeous but also really expensive! A dress costs around 400 euros...None the less Piper was so happy to be in there and see all the things she has spent ages looking at on the Japanese website.
She had a little bit of money so she did buy some over the knee socks which are really cute, not the cheapest at 26 euros but it was worth it to see how much effort went into the wrapping of them. I'd definitely give it 10 out of 10 for customer services, the guy there even bowed to Piper when he presented her with the bag!! I thought Piper might actually faint from the excitement....
She didn't open the bag until we were home and she could take photographs, here they are!
So glad we managed to fit in a visit to the shop for Piper because despite our plans for anther day in Paris we had a bad night with Cordelia and ended up having to book an earlier tunnel crossing. She was pretty sick all the way back up through France so we definitely made the right decision. I still can't believe how much we fit in to the three days we had in Paris. I knew I would love it there but it was even more amazing than I had ever imagined and I can't wait to go back and see more of it!